JIACO Instruments developed the first effective decapsulation machine in the world that does not require any acid or toxic gasses. In doing so, this startup caused a revolution in the packaging industry’s error analysis and quality monitoring. Faced with the prospect of considerable growth, the company decided to find a second source for its assembly processes, and has now found what seems to be a perfect match in Sioux.
Jeroen de Groot and René van Eijkelenburg (left to right)
In 2010, eighty percent of all chips were connected to their electronic circuits using gold wire bonds. Nowadays, that number has dropped to around ten percent. The lion’s share of chips is now made using copper and silver, thus cutting back on costs. At the same time, the challenges in the fields of error analysis and quality monitoring have increased. While the casings into which chips are poured could first be removed using strong acids, as gold is not very prone to oxidation, copper and silver demand less aggressive methods in order to prevent the wires from being damaged. After all, that would make it impossible to identify manufacturing errors. The solution was presented by Kees Beenakker - based on his findings when working at the Philips NatLab - and Jiaqi Tang who wrote his doctoral thesis on the subject. They founded JIACO Instruments in 2014. René van Eijkelenburg helped them set up their company, using his background in the business community.
"We simultaneously developed and built a prototype in collaboration with a mechatronics company that further developed the system into a stable product and is now handling the assembly. At its core, the machine works very simply; plasma is used to scratch off a layer of the casing, and then the silica filler gets shaken off. This process is then repeated until the chip can be removed. Ten of our machines are already operational all over the world, at major chip manufacturers. As such, error analysis and quality monitoring are serious business. In industries such as automotive, medical technology, aerospace, and defense, failure is not an option; safety is paramount and recalls are expensive. We are now offering a solution that works 100%, for many different types of wires, chips, and casings. There is no longer any excuse for half measures. This has earned us a unique position."
JIACO Instruments’ order portfolio is growing rapidly. That is why they began looking for a second source for assembly, and ended up at Sioux. Jeroen de Groot, responsible for Sioux’s assembly branch, describes their relationship as a perfect match. "We are well-suited to one another in terms of size and are both very flexible. That enables us to quickly respond to one another’s queries. We also have the necessary expertise and experience to be able to make the switch from prototyping to the controlled, replicable manufacturing of a stable machine. Our capacities as a developer of high-quality software, mathware, electronics and mechatronics are highly beneficial to this process. But in this case – the Technical Product Documentation and Bill of Materials are relatively fixed –things really start at our assembly operation. Even so, we are definitely able to provide added value in terms of costs, quality, and speed. We do so by optimally organising the manufacturing process, procurement of components, logistics, and testing. And of course we keep adapting based on the changes that are inherent in high-tech manufacturing processes. We’ve reached the following agreement; we will first build the first series of machines, and then we’ll decide if we will keep working together, and in what way. JIACO Instruments’ technical development and strategic roadmap will, of course, be the deciding factors in this decision-making process."
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